How Physical Therapists & Personal Trainers Work Together

By: Scott Harms, Physical Therapist
Third blog in a 3-part series

In my previous blog, I discussed finding the right movement specialist for you to aid you in functioning at your highest level. We discussed which type of movement specialist, be it a PT or fitness professional might be right for you. In actuality, both may be the answer.  In the fitness and physical therapy professions this team approach is becoming a trend. In fact, I can honestly say, I learn as much from fitness professionals, as I learn from other Physical Therapists when I continue to develop my knowledge and abilities. I feel very strongly that as a Physical Therapist it is my duty to not only help my clients out of pain and through injury, but also help them learn about their bodies and live as active and functional of a lifestyle as possible.

Unfortunately, our current healthcare system makes it difficult for me to provide my clients with as complete of a recovery as they need. With rising copays and co-insurance, decreasing visit limits, decreasing reimbursement for spending more time with clients, it makes it very difficult to provide complete rehabilitation from injuries. In other instances, clients become fully recovered from their injury, but they have higher goals than just their injury and recovery. Fortunately, we have a situation in which there are many highly educated, quality fitness professionals, who have a similar philosophy and thought process that I can provide my clients access to for continuation of their care and improvement.

How Personal Training Can Help You

I can also attest that clients of mine, who have previously or are currently participating in personal training have much quicker and higher quality outcomes than sedentary individuals or individuals who just work out on their own. There are many reasons for this, including body self-awareness, movement knowledge and coordination, and better tissue/muscle quality, strength and control that leads to quicker and better healing. Everyone has different healing potentials, and healing abilities. Those with healthier muscles and joints, better body awareness and coordination will respond better to physical treatments, and have quicker healing times when the inevitable injuries and pain occur. As a physical therapist, I am asked the question every day of why do I have this pain? The truth is that pain and injury are a normal part of life. At some point in all of our lifetimes, every single one of us will experience pain and injury. With more knowledge of your body or injury and a higher level of fitness your opportunity to avoid injury and recover from injury is exponentially greater. I encourage everyone to have a strong health and fitness team to reach your full potential. As Charlie Weingroff, a world renowned physical therapist and strength coach would say, “Training Equals Rehab, and Rehab Equals Training.”


“That’s the law of nature and nature doesn’t negotiate”

Stavros Kokkas

Creator of FITT-WELL CorrectiveFitness, Senior Strength & Balance, Elite Athletic Trainer, Motion Specialist

We are perfectly designed structures of motion. Like any other structure engineered to move, we transfer our weight through a series of elements to the ground, perpetually shifting our center of mass (center of our body, one inch below the navel) for balance. In motion or still, two primary indications that we are not balanced are muscle tension and joint pain (usually caused by the muscle tension).

The only way to relieve the joint pain is to release the tension.  And we release the tension by diaphramic breathing and loosening up as exhale but still keeping a rigid spine.  If we practice releasing tension, our bodies will make the natural shifts to balance. 

A sound mind in a sound body is our ultimate goal. The mind and body act on each other. A worried mind will produce tension. The tension causes unbalanced movement which creates more tension throughout the body which eventually causes pain. Conversely, a pained body will create worry, anxiety, fear, depression and anger in the mind. When the body is balanced, so is the mind.

Dr. Daniel Worpert

Medical Doctor, Neuroscientist,
Biomedical Engineer

Your Health Depends On Movement

The body contributes far more to our lives than just physical attributes such as strength and endurance – it plays a major role in emotions, learning and relationships. The body is intimately involved in all our thought processes, understanding, emotions and decision making. The mind and body are inseparable, from our endocrine system to the “brain in our gut” – the body is your brain!

Most need a more “anti-fragile” experience, but too often we have extremes of inactivity and overexertion. It is really just about finding that sweet spot. There is exercise, and there is movement. This is not about smashing out reps and painfully overexerting yourself. Completing a “work-out” to achieve an external goal at the expense of not enjoying the process is short-sighted and not sustainable.

All learning, no matter how abstract, is physical. “Early movement experiences are beneficial to optimal brain development.” (Gabbard, 1998, p. 1). Stop a child from moving in early childhood and see what happens to their learning capability… oh, wait, we have.

We Have Stopped Moving

Being sedentary has become “normal”. A modern human has the luxury to ask why run? Why jump? Why climb? When everything is accessible, when you are not forced to move to catch your prey or avoid being prey. Most people have a disconnect between their mind and body. We work in jobs that don’t require our bodies, simply sitting at desks clicking mouse buttons and tapping on keyboards. The narrative and relationship between our bodies and our movement is forgotten, not heard, ignored. We only notice our bodies when “something goes wrong” with it. We have, in effect, betrayed our bodies, ignoring and dishonouring them by using them purely as “locomotive devices” to transport the head.

What Is Movement?

“Exercise is Optional, Movement is Essential”. What is the difference? Exercise is a modern invention, an obligation or chore designed to give us a way out, a get out of jail free card that lets us believe three weekly trips to the gym lets us off the hook with our bodies. It is pain, rather than pleasure driven. It is generally focused on specificity and lacking in real skill development. Most exercise regimes use machines and isolated exercises that make us experts in movements that are not practical and are limited.

“The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do. You don’t move? The body will make you better at NOT moving. If you move, your body will allow more movement.”
Ido Portal

Creator of the Ido Portal Movement Culture, Mixed Martial Arts Trainer & Former Fighter, Athletic Trainer for Conor McGregor

Movement is our physiological health engine. We relied on natural, relaxed and driving movement for good heath before gym exercises existed. Movement was here first. Hunting and gathering, dancing, walking, climbing, running, jumping, crawling, lifting, swimming, fighting…even sex! These are all movements the human body is designed for. A lot of public health research now points towards needing more movement in our lives, as opposed to exercise to remain healthy. For example, no amount of exercise will undo the pathology that is sitting and remaining sedentary. And conversely, you could go your whole life without ever doing exercise but instead move as part of your everyday life and remain healthy.

A big impact on the history of the current “fitness” paradigm and thus exercise is the visual impact and imagery of the rise of bodybuilding a few decades ago. What Bodybuilders do for their sport, takes amazing dedication but unfortunately the effect on the fitness culture as a whole was that of isolation purely for cosmetic motivation.

Thankfully there seems to be a shift in paradigms. More and more people are realising that we need more than exercise for aesthetic reasons alone, we even need more than so called “functional training”. We need movement.

If you train, then “train movement, not just muscles”. “Balanced movement will train your muscles”. Find out what movement means to you. For most, moving is being in the present, enjoying the moment… Enjoying what you are doing. If you are in the moment of each rep of your exercise, you are not exercising, you are simply moving with awareness and drive.

Contact me today, I’ll show you the difference.

Please refer our website to anyone in need of our services. And please let your healthcare professionals know about Fitt-Well CorrectiveFitness.

Thank You For Spreading The Health,


Dr. Ryan Tackla, MD. Neurosurgeon
“Training with Stavros is like training with a sports trainer, kinesiologist, physical/pain/massage therapist all in one. I recommend him for all your fitness needs.”
Dr. B. Chin, MD Heart Surgeon
"I've always enjoyed an active lifestyle but I had to cut way back after developing tennis elbow. Stavros knew exactly how to fix it. He taught me to properly rotate my arms as we trained. Today, I have no tension in my elbow & I'm in the best shape of my life."
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